By Ken Hegan for MSN Travel

It’s early here on the west coast: 6:30 a.m. Not unusual for many people but mega-early for a writer. Yet surprisingly I’m up, alert, and working after an excellent 7-hour sleep.

I’m particularly surprised because I dosed myself with a sleep agent late last night.

Airports sleepers 2

It’s nice to sleep on airport floors. AP Photo/Seth Wenig

The stuff’s called Dream Water and according to its makers, it’s “the first scientifically formulated, zero calorie, 2.5 oz shot with no preservatives and natural, active ingredients that help you relax and fall asleep.” The packaging says it’s a “Sleep & Relaxation Shot” and that it’s “DRUG FREE” so you’ll “WAKE REFRESHED” (whoa, easy on the block letters there, I’m not thaaaaat awake yet).

Their website (which has a photo of a student who’s passed out on her books while seemingly still clutching her Dream Water container) boasts that their sleep agent is “more effective than counting sheep” which is a pretty easy claim, considering how hard it is to feed, house, and tally a massive herd of sheep. Here’s the unconscious student:

Student passed out

Now, I don’t usually take sleeping pills. Sedatives are hard on your liver and winter’s boring enough without them. But when somebody mails me a weird new product sample, who am I to resist? So my girlfriend and I downed Dream Water’s ‘Snoozeberry’ shots (they’re supposed to taste like Blueberry and Pomegranate) and we passed out right on schedule. I think I even fell asleep in the middle of a sentence.

Dream Water comes in 74 ml (2.5 oz) containers so you can bring them through airport security. They’re aimed at travellers on red-eye flights or who are trying to avoid jet lag. For optimum efficacy, you’re supposed to take Dream Water 30 minutes before you want to sleep, e.g., as the flight attendants are giving the safety demo, or just as everyone else starts drinking vodka. You can also take Dream Water if you want to come down after partying with Nick Nolte for three nights straight, and you’d rather not dose yourself with his roofies.

From their ‘play hard’ graphic (below), it looks like Dream Water is also marketing to hard-partying club kids who want to stop the buzz of their 5-hour energy drinks.

Dream Water graphic play hard

You might be wondering, “Ken, if it’s drug free, what’s in this sleepy-time stuff?”

According to the makers’ site, their “proprietary formula” contains three “natural live ingredients”:

Airport sleeper womanIngredient #1:

GABA (a.k.a. γ-Aminobutyric acid) — GABA is an amino acid used to treat PMS and which may reduce panic attacks. Bonus: the makers say GABA “has also been used as a sexual stimulant due to its relaxing effects, as it assists with the release of sex hormones.” So in addition to getting a restful sleep on the plane, you can have sex while doing it. Whether you plan to or not.

Ingredient #2:

Melatonin — a hormone that appears naturally in your brain’s “pineal gland.” Scientists believe it helps you sleep. You have more melatonin in your system at night, and less of it in the morning. Fake melatonin pills, if you’re not aware, are a wonder drug. They make you (well, me anyway) pleasantly sleepy and they’re supposedly not addictive. I keep a bottle of melatonin pills in my kitchen because let’s face it, sometimes I just want to fall asleep with a butcher knife in my hand.

Ingredient #3:

5-HTP — short for 5-Hydroxytryptophan, 5-HTP is another amino acid that your body makes from tryptophan. Which is the key ingredient in turkey that knocks you unconscious every Thanksgiving.

Ingredient #4:

Love — okay, I just made up this last one but I bet I’m not wrong. 

Looking forward, I plan to test Dream Water on two upcoming trips:1) This weekend my hockey team’s competing in the Apex Shootout, an outdoor hockey tournament in the snowy mountains of Penticton, BC. I’ll be sharing a condo with 12 partying players, so a good night’s sleep will be hard to come by. Save me, Dream Water.

2) Then I’m flying the red-eye both directions to and from a luxury resort in Huatulco, Mexico, where I’ll need to be alert to take full advantage of the week-long open bar.

I’ll let you know if/how this product works on those trips. Meanwhile, if you’d like to try it yourself, Dream Water’s available in over 1,000 airport retail shops likes Hudson News, plus over 30,000 stores such as Walmart, Target and CVS/Pharmacy in the USA. A 12-pack costs $38.99 US ($38.43 CDN) while a 24-pack will run you $71.99 US ($70.93 CDN).

Think you might try this product on vacation? If you do, let me know how you think it works.

— Ken Hegan

Read more of Ken’s MSN travel stories here  

Follow Ken on Twitter: @KenHegan

Product images & samples courtesy Dream Water

Photos of airport sleepers: 1) AP Photo/Seth Wenig 2) AP Photo/ Ng Han Guan